Girls Tennis: Naperville North takes DVC title

Story Image Naperville North's Tiffany Oken and Kayla Maxson celebrate a point in their 6-3, 7-6 win in the first doubles championship match Saturday in the DuPage Valley Conference meet.
Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: October 6, 2012 7:15PM

Despite their long experience as a doubles team, Naperville North’s Kayla Maxson and Tiffany Oken found themselves in unfamiliar territory Saturday when they were trailing 4-1 in the second set of the first doubles of the tennis conference championship match.

The Huskies pair, who had won the first set 6-3, fought back to tie it and then overcame two more deficits to defeat Naperville Central’s Cass Goldner and Cindy Liu 7-6 (9-7) to help Naperville North to its second straight DuPage Valley Conference Championship.

The Naperville Central duo, which was seeded No. 1, had beaten Maxson and Oken, the second seeds, in a dual meet last Thursday, so the Huskies didn’t want the match to go to a third set.

“There was no pressure on us because we weren’t expected to win this match,” said Oken. “So we were loose and we started going for things.”

“We had to stay aggressive and keep putting the pressure on them,” said Maxson. “Because we lost to them this week and also at sectionals last year, this was a big match. We’re very excited about the win.”

Naperville North coach Heather Henricksen has come to expect big performances from her first-doubles, who also won the DVC title last year. In fact, Oken took home a conference championship in all four of her years on varsity, two at third doubles and now two at first-doubles.

“They’re so steady, so smart,” said Henricksen. “The key to their success is they never get down. They play as though they’ve been playing together for 50 years

Oken believes their years together as partners has created a special situation.

“I always know where she is on the court,” said Oken of Maxson. “I don’t know how that happens, but we’re also great friends and we spend a lot of time together.”

Naperville North, which went into the tournament one point ahead of archrival Naperville Central, finished the tournament and season with 60 points to win the title. The Redhawks were second with 56, followed by Wheaton Warrenville South with 52.5.

The Huskies’ Abbie Boswell won the championship at second singles, while third doubles Jessica Yu and Ellen Heidenreich and fourth doubles Nadia Hussain and Kireem Nam also finished first in the DVC.

“We had high hopes for our team coming into the season,” said Henricksen. “We had a solid group of seniors returning from a conference championship team and they know what this is all about. This is a special group of girls.”

Naperville Central’s Meaghan Bedijian and Maria Mihailescu won the championship at second doubles, while the Redhawks’ Tiffany Chen had a strong finals match, breaking out in the lead in both sets before finally falling to three-time conference champion Keisha Clousing 7-5, 6-4. The Togers Rachel Henderlite was the winner at third singles.

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